09 Jun 17. Ukraine parliament restores NATO membership as strategic target. The Ukrainian parliament has voted to restore NATO membership as the country’s strategic foreign policy objective. The Verkhovna Rada passed a bill “to amend the Ukrainian laws on national security and internal and foreign policies. The new laws hereby enact Ukraine’s commitment to achieve NATO membership strategically by having made it legally binding,” the parliament said in a statement on June 8.
Passed by a majority of 276 MPs out of the 450 elected lawmakers, the bill represents a shift from Ukraine’s previous non-aligned policy. The move is expected to stimulate increased military cooperation between Ukraine and NATO allies. It is also likely to foster procurements of Western-made weapons and military equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and spur partnerships between Ukraine’s defense industry and foreign players.
Last February, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman paid an official visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels. NATO Deputy Secretary general Rose Gottemoeller said at a joint press conference the alliance opposed “Russia’s continuing destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.”
“What we heard today is a unanimous support for Ukraine in such a difficult time. We highly evaluate our cooperation with … NATO in all spheres. We are very grateful for the support,” Groysman said February 9.
Meanwhile, Kiev’s strengthened commitment to joining NATO is also expected to further strain its relations with Moscow. Last March marked the third anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula that followed a military intervention. (Source: Defense News)
08 Jun 17. Israel Completes Acquisition of F-35s from United States. Israel’s Ministry of Defense recently sent a letter to the US Department of Defense to complete the purchase of 17 F-35 jets, Israel’s Walla News reported on Thursday. Each plane costs approximately US$100m. The acquisition was first announced in November 2016, and brings the total number of F-35s purchased by Israel to 50. Israel is the only country in the Middle East to have the jet, which was not included in the recent arms deal signed between the US and Saudi Arabia. The plane has a range of 1,300 miles and can carry up to 8,200 kg of weapons. The Israeli version of the F-35, the “Adir”, had its first test flight at the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas in July 2016. Five of the planes are currently in operation out of southern Israel’s Nevatim air base, with two more due to arrive in August, a further two in September, and nine additional planes in 2018. Israel is also expected to receive a test plane for experimenting with new technologies. The plane, built by Lockheed Martin, is the most expensive in history. Proponents tout its radar-dodging stealth technology, supersonic speeds, close air-support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparalleled access to information. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/i24NEWS; posted)
07 Jun 17. Backgrounder: Investments in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The RCAF is an integrated, flexible, and highly responsive force that is able to project air power and support CAF and allied operations globally. Strong, Secure, Engaged ensures the Air Force is capable of a wide range of operations such as: space-based surveillance of Canadian territory and approaches; 24/7 aerial search and rescue; and assisting civil authorities as needed. RCAF space-based and aviation capabilities must be integrated, able to adapt to the latest technology, and interoperable with our allies.
— Replace the CF-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft, through an open and transparent competition, to improve CAF air control and air attack capability. This will allow us to fully meet both our NORAD and NATO commitments simultaneously;
— Acquire space capabilities meant to improve situational awareness and targeting, including: